While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Multitude of Tender Mercies

This week was jam packed, we were crazy busy and saw so many Tender Mercies! We started off the week with an exchange with my good friend Sister Norman :) She is in training and has that greenie fire :) She is so cool, and we met so many awesome people! I love when the weather starts to get warm (don't get your hopes up though because it snowed again later in the week...) One of the coolest people we met that day was Tina. She has a cute little family and as we talked with her and started teaching things began to sound familiar. She was excited to tell us that a few years ago she had actually met with missionaries! They lost contact because life got crazy, she doesn't remember a lot of what they taught but she does remember that it all made sense. How cool is that?! We went back for our return appointment and they are just so sweet! We found a real gem here in Lancaster. We even got to meet their pet pig! haha. I am so excited to teach their family :) It is such a tender mercy to meet people who are so prepared.
Exchanges with Sister Norman
Like I said, I love the warmer weather! This week we did our weekly planning outside at the park, and then we climbed mount pleasant and had the picnic we packed as we did our companion study at the top of mount pleasant (don't be fooled, it's really just a big hill. It sure is pretty though :) It is such a tender mercy to be able to enjoy the beautiful weather and God's creations.
View from Mount Pleasant

We had Another exchange this week! Party! It was with our Gahanna trio, I love those gals :) I had the opportunity to attend two baptisms that day! It was a very special experience to have the spirit witness to me two times in a row the same feeling of confirmation that this is true and that these amazing people truly did make a covenant with their Heavenly Father. One of the baptisms was in Hilliard, my first area. It was really fun to go back and visit almost a year after I had served there! How crazy is that?!
I also learned that day that I have an accent, not really sure where I picked it up or really what makes my speech different, but apparently it is! We had a lesson with one of their new investigators, probably one of the coolest lessons I have ever been a part of. He is from Africa and is English is pretty good but not 100%. Well as we were teaching he stopped us and said to the other sisters while he gestured at me, "This one, with the accent, can you understand her clearly?" Apparently he had the hardest time understanding what I said and we could not stop laughing. The other sisters assured him that I was speaking just the same as they were. We still haven't figured out what my accent it....haha  
Being able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to assist in the work of salvation is a huge tender mercy!
Gahanna trio
 The biggest tender mercy we experienced this week was when we got our transfer calls and we were informed that Sister Tobler and I will be staying together!!!! We were so surprised and oh so happy! She has become one of my best friends and I love her dearly. I can tell that this transfer is going to be amazing!

I am always amazed by how merciful the Lord is. He manifests His love for us to often in the simplest of ways. I share the feelings that Jared and His family experience in the Book of Mormon when it says that "they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them." I pray that you each will take the time to look around and appreciate the tender mercies that the Lord is continually pouring over you, because an attitude of gratitude brings more joy to life than anything else.

Love you all! Just keep smiling!
Crazy Weather!!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"because she loves Jesus"

This week was crazy and so busy but we saw so many miracles!!!!
The biggest thing I would like to tell you about is our little friend Aries :)
She got baptized this week!!!!
It was absolutely incredible! When she was asked by our Bishop why she wanted to get baptized she said because she loves Jesus. How perfect is that? That is what conversion is, doing things out of love for Christ. She may only be eight and doesn't know everything yet, but what she does know are the most important things.
I have loved working with her and her family. There has been such a change in their home since her baptism. A greater peace and a greater evidence of the spirit in their home. It is truly amazing what happens in our lives when we keep the commandments and when we do the small and simple things that invite the spirit into our lives.
This is why I am serving a mission. I am here to help others find joy, greater peace, hope, and unite families. Most importantly, and how all of that is accomplished, I am here to help others come closer to Christ through sacred covenants like baptism. 
I am so grateful for my opportunity to serve. It has changed my perspective on life completely and helped have a greater desire to strive to be more like Aries, and do things out of my love for Christ.

I love you all! Just keep smiling!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I Am A Disciple Of Jesus Christ

This week was so exciting! We did a lot of walking in the rain, we have had some amazing lessons, we have spent a lot of time with one of our amazing investigators and her fun family, we got pulled over by the police (don't worry, he was just letting me know that I accidentally turned off my tail lights...), and we had another tornado warning (that makes 3 total on my mission) we experienced all four seasons in one week (not even joking), rode our bikes a lot, and we got to celebrate Easter! AND we had the opportunity to hear the words of Christ's modern day prophets and apostles! It has been a good time :)

What I want to talk about mostly is that last one. I just think it is so amazing that God loves us enough in our day to have called a prophet. He wants us to have current, easy to understand instruction on how to follow Christ and be happy in this life, and a living prophet is the most direct way we can receive that. 
To sum up the whole conference (a total of 10 hours of inspired words and counsel directly from God for us) we all received instruction on what it means to be a disciple of Christ, and the encouragement and exportation to go and do.
We learned a lot about love, the important of ministering to the one, forgiveness, meekness, the power that comes from understanding that we are a child of God, and how to better follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Following Christ is something inseparably connected to our pursuit of true happiness in our lives, so I am grateful for the constant direction on how to do that more effectively.

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life" (3 Nephi 5:13) 
I think one of the greatest lessons for my life that I am learning while on my mission is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am also grateful to know that even though this commission to declare his word is specifically for me as a missionary, that it doesn't have to stop there. I can continue to help those around me keep their sights on everlasting life. And that is all of our responsibilities as Christ's disciples, because that is what He would do if He were here. We can know a lot about Jesus Christ, but what matters most is that we are continually coming to know Him. How we do that is through very small but eternally significant choices, it comes down to every moment striving to be a little more like Him in our every day actions. 
I am so grateful for my Savior, and especially for His eternal sacrifice that we had the special opportunity to remember and reverence this weekend. Because of Him the ability to change is possible; we can heed to His plea to become perfect even as he is perfect by allowing Him to help us make our daily decisions.

I love you all! Just keep smiling!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A WonDEERful Life

This week has been full of such amazing miracles!!!!
First of all, We found a wonDEERful new investigator ;)
We went on exchanges and I got to serve another day with Sister Herrera! That is three times now! And whenever we serve together it feels like I am being reunited with an old companion :) The Athens Sisters have been running a little low on miles so we would be biking a whole lot on exchanges, which is fine with me because I love biking! Well, one of their investigators named Don asked us to come see him and it was an eight mile bike ride one way to come see him. But of course we went. He lives up this long, windy, very hilly and steep dirt road which made for a very fun adventure haha. We ended up walking up a lot of really big hills, got chased by dogs down a good stretch of the road and I managed to get stuck in the mud. And we ended up having a wonderful visit with Don. We taught some, got to do service and even ate dinner with him. He absolutely could not believe we even attempted biking to his house, and he was kind enough to arrange a ride for us back home :) It was a fantastic day!
Another amazing thing! A little while ago we were knocking on someone's door who had told us he would like to talk to us later that day, but he ended up not being home. BUT there was a woman sitting on the porch next door and we were able to talk to her! It was actually her mom's house and she isn't usually there (not a coincidence) and she was interested in learning more and said we could come back! Our first lesson with her was amazing! She talked about how she has felt something missing in her life lately, and wants God to be a bigger part of her family's life and basically that what we were sharing with her was an answer to a prayer. She was excited to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon and when she said the closing prayer for our lesson she asked to know if it was true as well as the things we had taught her, without any prompting from us! How awesome is that?! The other night we were in the area and we felt prompted to go see her and we were able to do some service for her as well as meet the rest of her family :) They are so sweet and it never ceases to amaze me how involved God is in the details of our lives. He always leads us exactly where we are needed, to the people who are truly seeking for His gospel. I am so grateful to be a part of this great work! I am grateful I get to meet such special people and help them come closer to Jesus Christ!

The other night added to my list of favorite experiences from my mission :) We had a lesson scheduled with our little friend Aries who is getting baptized soon!!!! When we got there, we were surprised to see so many people in their home. There was about 7 kids in the house haha so we taught them! Aries's little friends were so excited to be able to participate and read from the scriptures. It was a sweet experience, and by the end they were asking if they could come to church too. It was especially neat to see how excited Aries was to tell her friends what she knew and to show them what she was learning. She is so good at inviting :) It really shows how much she does value her testimony and that this is something that means a lot to her :)
I would like to leave you with a thought about our Savior :) He who gives us strength, whose spirit comforts us and teaches us truth, and who is the founder of peace and the source of all the sweet experiences we have in life. In preparation for Easter, I have been studying about Christ's Atonement, and these words from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland have really stuck with me.
"As we approach this holy week—Passover Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb—may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,” for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone."
Christ's sacrifice is infinite and perfect. He stands by our side, unwavering. The least we could offer in return is to try our very best to be committed to Him, and when we start to waver to call upon Him. I testify that each time we do He will come to our aide. It may seem like a daunting task to commit to being that faithful, always and forever, but the blessings we receive will undeniably outweigh any sacrifice. As we live our lives to stand for Him, as He has laid down His for our sake, we will be able to stand a little taller, be a little better, and live a whole lot happier.

I love you all, just keep smiling!
Still Raining!!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

He Fulfills His Promises

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Instruments In The Hands Of God

This week has been fantastic! As I told you all, I am no longer serving with Sister Clark. BUT I do get to be companions with the amazing Sister Tobler! She is so much fun, has the most contagious laugh and every day is a party. We are working so hard and seeing so many miracles everyday! I am so grateful I get to be a missionary!

We started off this week awesome with a party for Sister Thompson. It was her birthday this week and the ward and all our friends pitched in and planned a surprise party for her. It turned out simply lovely and she definitely deserves it. She is the most selfless person I have ever met and would give everything she had for those she loves, it was so wonderful to see something that was all about her for once. At one point during the night she says "I don't need all of this, I have amazing friends. What more could a girl need?" Such a great perspective, so much humility and so much love. I hope to grow up to be like Sister Thompson :)

We had an awesome week working with members! That is how the REAL missionary work happens. First, we received a referral and all it had was a phone number. It turns out that there was a stake conference recently and everyone attending was invited to think about the people they love most, who they would like to see sitting beside them and have the blessing of having the gospel in their lives. They were invited to send that persons name and their contact information to the missionaries. This was one of those referrals. It was amazing how when we first called this man he actually hung up on us. But when we texted him, explaining our purpose and that we were only calling him because his friend had asked us to, he said he would call us later that evening.  And he did! We had a great conversation and he expressed interest in coming to church! The only reason he opened up to us and even agreed to talk to us was because we used his friend's name. Because of the respect he has for his friend and the love that his friend showed by referring him, he was motivated to listen. That is just so amazing to me. Think of the number of our friends that we can help have an opportunity to hear the gospel by simply allowing the missionaries to use our names when contacting them?
This week we also had a Family Home Evening lesson with a family in our ward. It was so much fun to be with them and we asked if we could come again, they said yes. We then asked if next time they would invite a friend to come participate as well, again they agreed. Now, if simply allowing the missionaries to use your name when contacting one of your friends can open so many doors, image the good that can be done when you personally invite your friends to the missionaries!

It does so much good. The difference you can make is insane. 
I would like to share with you these scriptures that come from Alma 26, my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon. This is a man named Ammon speaking who is an amazing missionary. The whole chapter is his expression of the joy he feels because he was able to help his brethren, the Lamanites, receive the gospel and become converted to Christ.

"And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work"

The gospel is the greatest gift I have received in my life. It has brought me so much peace and joy in my life, it has helped me know where I can find hope and direction and has helped me better understand who I truly am. I know that those blessings are universal. Sharing the gospel can really just be giving the greatest gift ever to the people we love most. I know that as we all make the conscious decision to open our mouths, to share what we know to be true and be instruments in God's hands, we can experience that same joy that Ammon describes. 

I hope you all ponder on that and on what you can do to help those you love :) Have a great week and just keep smiling!

Friday, March 9, 2018

I Love Being A Missionary!!!

This week was so great! We were incredibly busy and it was wonderful! We had three exchanges this last week, plus our missionary leadership council which are both things I love about being a Sister Training Leader! So it was a week full of learning and the spirit!

I'm going to start off with some pretty sad news though. Sister Clark will be transferred :( she has become one of my best friends, and I am so grateful that God knew I need her in my life. She is such a special person, so strong, loving, big hearted, funny, nurturing, and just a beautiful person. She has such a strong testimony and is a light to everyone who has the pleasure of interacting with her. She is going to do amazing things wherever she goes, I am sure going to miss her a lot though!

Probably the highlight of the week though was this Monday evening, we just saw so many miracles! We were out a little ways in the country and Sister Clark noticed a place on the map she had never seen before and we felt like we should go. When we get there and got our of our car,  a man was yelling at us from his porch trying to figure out who we were and where we were going. I'd be a little concerned too if two strangers were parked out front on a street that probably doesn't get many visitors. We explained and went on our way. The first person we talked to had met missionaries before and gladly asked us back for a lesson, it was awesome! Then we met his neighbor who was excited to "blow our minds." She told us all about how she has relatives who are members of the church, and her family goes way back. She even named her kids after figures in early church history. She was excited to tell us that she has a Book of Mormon and what she knows about the church. She wasn't interested in learning more right now, but I know our interaction was a very positive one and maybe down the road something will come out if it. 
As we were walking to our car Sister Clark had the impression to knock on the door of the man who yelled at us from his porch. Talk about awkward. But we did it and it turned out to be such a cool experience! He was so nice, and hilarious. He let us know that we have him quite a fright and he actually pulled a gun on us when he was yelling at us, pretty sure he was serious. But he let us right in and we were able to talk with him and his whole family! A FAMILY! It was so awesome! His daughter was excited to show us her children's Bible and was very interested in listening as well as we taught them the Restoration. It was such a sweet experience!

I love being a missionary! I love having the opportunity to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet, to help people know who they truly are, and unite families. Everyday I think "Wow! How great is my calling!" I am so grateful that I have been placed here and given so many wonderful opportunities to share my testimony. I am even more grateful to know that those opportunities will never cease, no matter where I am in life. 

I love you all! Never be afraid to open your mouth, and just keep smiling!